Blast rocks Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rally

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An explosion has struck a stadium in the city of Bulawayo where Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was addressing an election campaign rally, according to state media.

The Zimbabwe Herald reported on Saturday that the 75-year-old president was not hurt and evacuated from the White City stadium, where he had been speaking to supporters ahead of next month’s vote.

“President Mnangagwa has not been injured and is at Bulawayo State House,” presidential spokesman George Charamba was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“Investigations are under way and more details will be given to the public.”

Witnesses told The Associated Press news agency that the blast occurred as Mnangagwa, the leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party, was leaving the podium after finishing his speech.

The explosion was close to the VIP tent, witnesses and Charamba said. A cloud of smoke rose over the scene and several people appeared to be injured.

Footage showed medical staff rushing to the scene to treat those wounded.

State TV immediately cut its broadcast.

The incident came hours after a blast struck a large rally by supporters of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the capital, Addis Ababa, killing at least one person and wounding dozens of others. 

Mnangagwa took power in November 2017 after longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down following a military intervention.

The July 30 vote is the first without Mugabe since independence in 1980.

More to follow…

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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